The Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset will sell for $599

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The latest developments surrounding the consumer-electronics show in Las Vegas known as CES (all times local): 10:00 a.m. The much-hyped Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will cost $599 and ship to 20 countries beginning on March 28, the company said Wednesday. Bundles that...

 
              FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, file photo, a man records video during a Sony news conference preview for CES International in Las Vegas. The CES gadget show, which officially opens Wednesday, has sections for wearable fitness gadgets, drones, autonomous vehicles, education, virtual reality, video games, robots, 3-D printers and smart homes. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The latest developments surrounding the consumer-electronics show in Las Vegas known as CES (all times local):

10:00 a.m.

The much-hyped Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will cost $599 and ship to 20 countries beginning on March 28, the company said Wednesday.

Bundles that include a powerful computer needed to use the device will be available for pre-order in February starting at $1499.

The pricing details and shipping information had been long awaited. Oculus, which Facebook bought in 2014 for $2 billion, began accepting pre-orders for the device at 11 a.m. E.T. on Wednesday.

It will also be available in some undisclosed retail locations starting in April.

The Rift comes with a built-in headphones and mic, sensor and an Xbox One controller. It also comes with a remote to help navigate virtual worlds.

PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster said the cost of the Rift is higher than the $449 he expected, but said he still expects a few hundred thousand units to sell during 2016.

— Mae Anderson, AP Technology Writer, New York

___

8:15 a.m.

The CES gadget show, which officially opens at 10:00 a.m. today in Las Vegas, has begun catering more heavily to startups hoping to break through the noise. The sprawling show has sections for wearable fitness gadgets, drones, autonomous vehicles, education, virtual reality, video games, robots, 3-D printers and smart homes.

The startups will help fill a gap left by many of technology's biggest names, who have been no-shows for some time. That roster includes Apple Inc., which has skipped the show since the 1990s, Microsoft Corp., which abandoned its keynote slot after 2012, Google's parent company Alphabet Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.

The Consumer Technology Association that runs CES is aiming for attendance this year at or below last year's record 176,000.

Shawn DuBravac, the CTA's chief economist, argues the show's maturity is a good thing because its focus has shifted over two decades from the "technologically possible" to the "technologically meaningful." In other words, it's no longer about a robot that can walk up steps. It's about robots that actually mow your lawn.

CES is first and foremost a venue for promoting the tech industry, and sometimes the hype falls flat. 3-D screen technology unveiled at CES in 2010 went from the next big thing to a mostly unused feature. Netbooks introduced in 2009 took a back seat to the iPad released a year later. And concepts such as the smart home have taken a really long time to materialize.

— Ryan Nakashima, AP Technology Writer, Las Vegas

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